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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 28, 2006 / 6 Tishrei, 5767

Shofar, so good

By Suzanne Fields


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A friend of mine sends a short video as a New Year's greeting, celebrating the beginning of the year 5767 on the Jewish calendar. It depicts a driver, frustrated because the remote control for his garage door won't work. He bangs on the remote with his hand, his head, his nose and his chin. Nothing happens. A Hasidic Jew drives up, with his black hat and long black locks curled in front of his ears, rolls down the window of his car and aims a shofar, the long ram's horn played at the synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. He blows the horn with a piercing shriek. The garage door opens.


The greeting: "These High Holy Days, stick with what works. Shofar, so good."


Such humor is stock in trade for the Jews, who have always mixed the sacred with the sacrilegious. If not necessarily a saving grace, humor acts as a palliative to tragedy. Jews have certainly needed it through the centuries. "Oppressed people tend to be witty," wrote Saul Bellow, and Jews know a lot about oppression, too. Humor soothes pain with laughter, though the laughter that brings tears to the eyes may reflect anguish and despair, too.


The shofar is not generally an instrument for humor, but it calls attention to the spiritual nature with appeals to joy, hope and trust, as well as awe, fear and trembling. A new generation of comic writers tries to add humor with edginess to the sounds of the shofar, aiming to revive religious traditions and express concern over Israel.


My greeting card was made by a group called Jewish Impact Films Fellowship, established in Los Angeles to bring freshness to faith. Back in the days of vaudeville, Jewish comics knew how to exploit suffering for humor, building on Shalom Aleichem's dialogue, "G-d, I know we are Your chosen people, but couldn't You choose somebody else for a change?"


Political correctness, which is out to dull everything, finds ethnicity in humor an embarrassment. Molly Goldberg, like Amos and Andy, had to go. (Lum 'n' Abner, which mocks only rural Southerners, can still be heard on occasional small-town radio.) Self-mocking with Yiddish accents or idiosyncratic ungrammatical English was sacrificed first on the altar of assimilation, then later with an appeal to an arrogant multiculturalism. The folk wisdom inherent in the depiction of Jews to deflate the pomposity of the more powerful lost its bite.


Now the bite is back, albeit in different forms. You can start with comic books to find out how. Rabbi Simcha Weinstein has written "Up, Up and Oy Vey," a book about comic heroes inspired by religious themes created by Jewish authors. "Only a Jew would think of a name like Clark Kent," he tells the New York Post. "He's the bumbling, nebbish, Jewish stereotype. He's Woody Allen. Can't get the girl. Can't get the job — at the same time, he has this tremendous heritage he can't suppress."


Rabbi Simcha writes that the dual identity of characters like Superman and Spiderman reflects the longings of children of immigrants who desire to live two lives, "privately as a Jew and publicly as an American." The Hebrew Bible provides creative inspiration in supermen like Samson, who brings down the temple of the Philistines, and David, who destroys Goliath with a slingshot.


After the horror of the Holocaust, comedy became a rationed commodity for many Jews. They agreed with Theodor Adorno, the German philosopher, who wrote that "After Auschwitz it is barbaric to write poetry." The philosopher's point was that only silence could express the magnitude of such human tragedy. Hitler was no laughing matter. But then Mel Brooks, who wrote "The Producers," with its chorus line of big-booted Nazi women crooning "Springtime for Hitler," punctured that taboo, too.


Controversy exploded when the Jewish Museum in New York held an exhibition called "Mirroring Evil," which turned themes of the Holocaust into pop art, including a concentration camp made of LEGO. Other critics identified the show as expressing the irrepressible ability of the Jews to rise from the ashes of Hitler's evil.


Two weeks ago, more than 60 years after the Nazis shut down Germany's only rabbinical school, three rabbis were ordained in Dresden's new synagogue. "After the Holocaust, many people could never have imagined that Jewish life in Germany could blossom again," said German president Horst Koehler. "That is why the first ordination of rabbis in Germany is a very special event indeed."


That's something to blow the shofar about on these High Holy days. Happy New Year to you, too.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


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